- Length: 2-4 hours (generally outpatient)
- Anesthesia: General
- Normal recovery: Return to work in 1-2 weeks, Resume light exercise after 4 weeks, swelling resolves completely after 4-8 weeks
- Possible side effects: Swelling, Bruising, Pain or Discomfort
The natural aging process is a combination of the effects of gravity as well as a loss of facial volume that ultimately leads to the sagging of facial skin. A Facelift is a surgical procedure that attempts to reverse the aging process by removing the excess sagging skin as well as refilling the lost facial volume by resuspending facial muscles, and redraping and/or removal of excess facial skin for a smoother, firmer appearance. A facelift can improve visible signs of aging in the face and neck, such as:
- Sagging in the midface
- Deep creases below the lower Ears
- Deep creases between the nose and mouth
- Fat that has fallen or is displaced
- Loss of muscle tone in the lower face that may create jowls
- Loose skin and excess fatty deposits under the chin and jaw
The final result is a fuller, more youthful lower face, jawline and neck area.
Men and women of all ages can benefit from this safe and proven procedure. Ideal candidates for a facelift have loose or sagging skin around the cheeks, chin or jaw. Patients who have recently experienced significant weight loss or undergone bariatric surgery are often ideal candidates for facelifts. For more comprehensive results, facelifts are often performed in combination with other procedures such as:
- Neck lifts are often combined with facelifts. These procedures are used to remove fat and excess skin to eliminate wrinkles and bands and create a smoother, tighter neck appearance.
- Ear surgery is performed to address droopy upper Ears and puffy lower Ears, which can cause you to appear older and more tired than you feel.
- Brow lift or forehead lift surgery can reduce the appearance of droopy eyebrows and deep furrows and creases on the forehead.
- Facial implants are made of silicone and can be placed in your chin, cheek or jaw to improve your overall facial symmetry and proportion.
- Chin surgery may involve reducing the size of the chin by removing bone or enlarging the chin with implants.
- Rhinoplasty (nose reshaping surgery) can help bring your nose into better proportion with your face by making it larger or smaller. Your surgeon can also remove a hump from your nose or a dip from the bridge of your nose, or otherwise improve your nasal profile.
- Otoplasty (ear surgery) is performed to reduce the appearance of excessively protrusive ears. This is one of the few plastic surgery procedures most often performed on young children.
How Does a Facelift Work?
Typical incisions begin within the hairline, above the temple and continue along or just inside the ear, ending behind the ear. This allows access to tighten underlying tissue, remove excess fat and reduce sagging skin. In some cases, excess or saggy skin will be removed to create a more youthful result.
A second incision under the chin is sometimes necessary. If skin tone is good and only mid-face aging or excess fat in the neck will be corrected, abbreviated techniques with shorter incisions may be used. Liposuction techniques may assist with removal of fat deposits.
Patients can expect some swelling and bruising, which will peak 2-3 days after surgery. Individual results will vary, but light walking is encouraged after 48hrs, and patients can expect to return to normal activities after 3-5 weeks.
Dr. Min’s Approach to Facelift Surgery
Dr. Min’s focus is on natural results that give patients a refreshed, rejuvenated appearance, not the “pulled” or “worked on” look of the past. During your consultation, Dr. Min will work with you to understand your needs and help you create a treatment plan that will enhance your beauty and your confidence.
Dr. George Min is a board certified plastic surgeon with deep experience in facial sculpting procedures and a reputation for delivering beautiful, balanced results. He takes a conservative approach that focuses on patient safety and a natural appearance. Dr. Min does not believe in cutting corners, and our state-of-the-art Bellevue facility is unlike any you will find in the Seattle or Bellevue area. Our on-site surgical suite is equipped with the latest technology and is one of only a handful of locations to meet the stringent new safety certification standards.
We pride ourselves in being the best, not only in surgery, but also in patient care and education.
Your Facelift Options
There are a number of different techniques for face lifting. The techniques used as well as the location of your incisions will be determined by Dr. Min in order to achieve your desired result with minimal visible scarring.
Different techniques include:
Short scar facelift
The Short Scar Facelift referes to a series of procedures characterized by short, often S-shaped scar patterns. The small incision still lets doctors re-suspend the tissues that support the jowls and tighten a moderate amount of loose skin. These procedures result in minimal scarring, but may not achieve the results that older patients are looking for.
Deep plane or SMAS lifts
This procedure is ideal for patients looking for dramatic and lasting results. The surgeon lifts the superficial top layers of skin as well as deeper tissues of the face and neck (also known as the SMAS, which often grow lax and sag with age. During the SMAS lift, an incision is made above the hairline and extended downward along the creases in your skin, in front or at the edge of the ear, below the ear lobe, and behind your ear. The surgeon then elevates the SMAS, tightens it and removes excess tissue, using stitches to keep it in its new, higher position. The Deep Plane lift refers to a variation of the procedure that goes deeper to raise and reposition more of the SMAS tissue.
Procedure uses an endoscope, a small pencil-shaped probe with a camera attached to it. The endoscope transmits video images of the internal facial structures onto a TV screen in the operating room, letting the surgeon see beneath the skin.
The endoscope is inserted via small incisions, typically in the hairline or behind the ears, that are easily hidden. While the small incisions make this procedure ideal for younger patients and patients looking for a speedy recovery, they are not optimal for patients with significant loose or sagging skin.
A mid-facelift uses a series of small incisions in the hairline and the inside of the mouth. The natural fatty layer over your cheekbones is lifted and repositioned. A mid-facelift improves nose-to-mouth lines and lifts sagging cheeks. (A mid-facelift is included as part of the SMAS or deep plane lift because the mid-face area is elevated along with rest of the tissues.) This procedure requires minimal downtime, but results can sometimes be subtler.
Aging continues even after a facelift, and secondary facelifts are not uncommon. They are done to reposition and tighten the facial skin, underlying tissue and/or muscles, preserving your results and ensuring your continued natural appearance.
Thread Lift / Feather Lift / Aptos Lift (minimally invasive)
In some cases, patients, especially younger patients, may be looking for a “small lift.” In this case, a minimally invasive procedure like a thread lift may be appropriate. In a thread lift, barbed sutures (threads) are used to lift sagging eyebrows and Ears, deep nasolabial folds (those furrows between the nose and the corners of the mouth) or aging neck tissues. The surgeon uses a thin needle to insert the sutures under the facial tissues. The barbs on one end of the thread grab and lift the sagging skin, and the teeth on the other end anchor the skin to the underlying facial tissues. No incisions or stitches are required, and no scars are produced.
Thermage involves the use of radiofrequency energy. When applied to the skin, the radiofrequency energy heats the skin’s collagen, tightening the existing collagen and stimulating the production of new collagen, the result of which produces smoother-appearing skin.
Facial Injectables (like Botox)or fillers (such as Juvaderm) can be used in place of or in combination with surgical facelifts to add volume or tighten skin, but they will not address loose or sagging skin as effectively as a surgical facelift.
Your Initial Facelift Consultation
The role of the consultation is to ensure that you feel informed, confident and excited, and we’ll take as much time as we need to get there.
During your initial consultation, Dr. Min will ask you about your desired appearance, as well as questions about your general health and activity levels to determine if he can meet your expectations. He will analyze your face and evaluate the shape, the quality of skin and underlying bone structure. After your consultation, photographs will be taken for your medical record and additional analysis. He will walk you through your options, explain the details of the facelift procedure, and answer any questions you may have. You will have an opportunity to view extensive before and after photos.
Dr. Min will assess factors such as the quality of skin, the amount of underlying fatty tissue, the amount of excess skin, the elasticity of the skin, and the contour of your face. He will share and explain his opinions with you about what is most appropriate for your body and what results you can expect. Together you will decide on the details and timing of your procedure.
Finally, Dr. Min will make sure you know exactly what will happen on the day of your procedure, what you will experience while you recover, and what you can expect in the months and years to follow.
Safety & Risks of Facelift Surgery
Our approach at Newvue is always to put our patients’ safety above all other concerns, and Dr. Min is a recognized expert with an impeccable track record for facial sculpting. We have invested in absolutely state of the art tools, and our on-site surgical suite is one of the first in the region to be fully approved under the stringent new safety standards.
Face lifts are very common and safe procedure. Nonetheless, we feel it is important that all our patients fully understand the risk associated with this—or any—surgical procedure. The most important thing to know is that Dr. Min and Newvue will stand by you should any complications arise and do everything we can to help you achieve your desired result.
Risks associated with Facelifts include:
- Reaction to Anesthesia: Some patients experience an adverse reaction to anesthesia that may result in nausea or vomiting, allergic reactions and in very rare cases death. Be sure to discuss any medical allergies with your surgeon.
- Infection: as with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection. Infection will generally occur within days or weeks of your procedure, and in most cases can be treated with medication. In rare cases, and additional surgery may be required to treat severe infections
- Bleeding & Hematoma: Some patients are more prone to bruising than others and, in extreme cases, may experience excessive bruising, bleeding or skin death.
- Facial Nerve Injury/Loss of Sensation: Some patients may experience temporary or permanent loss of sensation in or around the treated area.
- Asymmetry: Some patients may experience asymmetry in their results over time due to the body’s natural aging or partial rejection of the surgical procedure, which can generally be addressed with an additional correctional surgery.
- Possibility of Secondary Surgery: In some cases, especially face lifts with extensive tissue removal, a secondary surgery may be required to achieve desired results.
- Fat necrosis (death of fatty tissue): Some patients may experience tissue death that changes their appearance or requires additional corrective surgery.
Prior to Your Facelift Procedure
Prior to your surgery, we will schedule a preoperative appointment with Dr. Min. The purpose of this meeting is to make sure that your procedure goes smoothly and efficiently. Our staff will review your consent forms with you, answer any questions you might have, and the risks and benefits of surgery will be thoroughly reviewed. You may be given your prescriptions to be filled prior to your surgery. You will be given a list of medications and supplements to avoid for two weeks before and after surgery. If you are a smoker, you will be advised to stop smoking at least two weeks prior to surgery. You should not smoke for at least two weeks following surgery.
Men will need to shave prior to the procedure.
Your Facelift Procedure
We will do everything in our power to help you feel informed and relaxed on the day of your procedure. After you arrive at our Bellevue office, you will meet with Dr. Min and with your anesthesiologist. Once any questions you have are answered, you will be given medication to help you relax.
You will be brought into the surgical suite, where you will be prepped for surgery and given a general anesthetic. Surgery usually takes 2-4 hours.
You will wake up in the recovery room, where you’ll be closely monitored. We’ll let you know how everything went and advise you on what to expect as you recover. You’ll want to be sure to arrange for someone to pick you up and stay with you for the first couple days as you adjust.
After Your Facelift Procedure
You’re still our patient after you leave, and we will be there for you as you recover to answer any questions you may have and advise you on any side effects you may be feeling. Facelifts are generally performed as outpatient procedures, and you can expect to return home that day. You can expect to feel tired and sore after the surgery. Facelifts are generally not painful surgeries, but you will experience some swelling and discomfort as well as visible bruising in your face, all of which can be managed with medication.
While some movement is permissible, most patients will want to avoid strenuous exercise for several weeks. Dr. Min will advise you on the specifics of your recovery program.
Most patients return to work in 1-2 weeks, but you should avoid strenuous activity for at least 6 weeks, and avoid high impact activities (skiing, wakeboarding, contact sports) for the duration of your recovery (6-8 weeks). Your stiches will dissolve and be absorbed by your body, so you will not have to worry about getting them removed.
Here’s a timeline of a typical recovery:
First 24 hours:
- Rest, eat and drink normally (no alcohol), avoid activity
- Effects of anesthesia will be gone
- Your 1st follow up consultation with Dr. Min
- Swelling will peak and begin to subside
- Minimal activity, but light walking may begin
- You can shower normally
- Bandage removal
- Your 2nd follow up consultation with Dr. Min
- Most patients can return to work at this point
- 2nd follow up consultation
- Resume normal (light) exercise and physical activity (such as jogging)
- 3rd follow up visit
- Resume all activities (including things like skiing, wakeboarding)
- Full results will be visible
- 1st annual checkup
Your results will not be fully visible until swelling diminishes (1-3 weeks). Scarring varies and will fade over time. Dr. Min and the Newvue staff are always available to help you with any questions or concerns you may have, during your recovery and after. We want to ensure that you are completely thrilled with your new look, and we’ll consider you our patient for life.